Sneak Peek: Nicole Sutton of Workhorse

Nicole Sutton has called this apartment in Miracle Mile, Los Angeles home for the past ten years. During that time it’s been shared by her sister or ex-boyfriend or a combo of the two, but these days, it’s her very own bachelorette pad. Though she started out with no furniture, she recognized that the apartment had good bones – French doors, tall ceilings and exposed beams, so she’s built upon that by taking the time to hunt for vintage finds, successfully decorating the space on a shoestring budget. She takes great pride in the fact that no single item in her home cost more than $300. The end result is a reflection of not only her personal style but also the ethos of her jewelry brand, Workhorse, which is, unearthed antiques remade into modern heirlooms. Nicole believes her home is a true reflection of what she loves and what she loves to do. She is one of three designer behind Workhorse Jewelry. Their band of three consists of her twin sister, Amber and their best friend and mentor, Zoe Chicco. They find antiques and transform them into modern, provocative pieces intended to act as the “workhorses” in your jewelry box. Just as they breath new life into these buried treasures, Nicole has done the same with her home. Thank you Nicole and thanks to Annie McElwain for the lovely photos! -Shannon

Image above: I bought this dresser from good friends who loved it but didn’t have any room for it in their new place. It serves a functional purpose but more importantly allows me to display some of my beloved collectibles. I found most of these frames on the east coast and think they’re beautiful just the way they are – nicks, missing paint and all. I just about died when I saw these dark turquoise wooden corbels and had to buy them. I dream about actually using them to hold a reclaimed wood shelf but for now they are great repurposed as bookends or as a jewelry catch-all. I got the wooden shoe molds and the vintage typewriter from Etsy. It’s in working condition and every now and then I’ll find a typed note from my sweetheart wishing me a good day. Awwww!


Image above: This little dining-nook is one of my fave spots in the house. I have a rug-buying addiction and and even bigger addiction to buying them on the cheap. I scored this beauty for under $50 and never looked back. It sits under an Ikea table decorated with old French glass wine jugs. My sister and I found these chairs on the side of the road on one of our daily trips to Starbucks. The brass sputnik light was a steal from the Ventura flea market and the vintage map of East Central LA County I acquired at PCC flea market. It was rolled up, partially covered and all I could see were little bits of fuschia and green but I knew it was a hidden gem.

Click here to see more of Nicole’s Los Angeles home…


Image above: I love these built-in shelves! I mean, who doesn’t love a good vignette, right? Some of my prized items live here: baby photos of me and my sis, an old French glass bottle that Zoe brought me back from Paris, a few favorite reads and some great silhouettes I found back home in Philadelphia.


Image above: I found this leather quiver at a flea market a few years ago. My mom was with me and thought I was nuts to buy it. It got us chatting about her foray into archery as a kid, her tomboy days and dreams to become a farmer/carpenter – it made us laugh and at only $25 I couldn’t resist! This set has a tiny leather glove and chalk on the pocket and I’d like to think some spirited lass used these to spear something she was hunting for!


Image above: My apartment is an interior unit and doesn’t get much, if any, direct sunlight. At first I was bummed as I love natural light and studio-white walls. But soon I learned to love the muted light that filtered through the windows and the shadows in the living room around dusk. Since it’s a rental I decided not to paint the walls and left them a soft, creamy white. Linen-y curtains, Edison bulbs in the wall sconces, a collection of scroll mirrors and old trunks stacked in the corner add to the vintage vibe of space.


Image above: I scored this awesome wooden case from THREE POTATO FOUR and had my mom ship it to me all the way from Philadelphia. I’ve always had a fascination with type and have been gathering the blocks for years. When I saw the case online I knew it was the perfect home for a collection that had been relegated to overflowing mason jars and baskets all over the house.


Image above: When I first moved in to this apartment, my mom was visiting from Philadelphia so I took her on a tour of the La Brea shopping district. We wandered into a tiny shop filled with beautiful kilim rugs and spotted this orange, taupe and magenta beaut. I loved the pattern and the colorway but was uncertain of two things: A. Could I afford it? and B. Would it fit in my living room? After two trips back to the shop that same day I decided I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t make it mine. It was 15 feet and it fit and even though it was my first “investment”, it became the centerpiece of my living room, dictating the rest of the decor. (Plus, as my boyfriend reminds me it was the “gateway” drug that started my rug addiction) . The black chairs, like many pieces in my house, have a fun(ny) story behind them. We were at Ventura flea market when I spotted these in the back of a very well- styled booth. I really liked the Union Jack motif and the matte black paint but they were very, very low to the ground. The seller told me she got them from someone else who got them out of an old tattoo shop and that they were super low so that the tattoo artist could work his magic. Now I don’t know if that’s a true story but my 6’4″ boyfriend, Eric, liked them too, even if his knees would touch his chin when he sat down. As you can see these are my next project – if only I could commit to the perfect fabric…


Image above: My nanny bought my sister and me this lamp when we were visiting from college over Christmas. We spotted it at a tiny “junk shop” as she’d say and we couldn’t let it go. I must’ve rochambeau’d my sister for it and won, luckily, as it adds a great pop of color to the living room. I had 4 black and white photos of my grandmom blown up and they adorn the space above, which I love as I get to see them whenever I sit on the couch.


Image above: Amber found a set of 4 vintage brass arrow bookends at Wertz brothers in Santa Monica. They are much too cute to be hidden on the side of a stack so I turned them facing out so everyone gets to admire them. I’m a bit obsessed with arrows these days. They are a popular motif in my jewelry line – one has even made its way into our workhorse logo!


Image above: Another flea market treasure, this round mirror added just the right backdrop for the trinkets on top of an old cabinet I purchased from a moving sale downtown. The fan coral, brass springbok bust and framed silhouette are also second-hand finds and the “golden twins” tin was given to me by my mom. How apt!


Image above: My sister and I bought this old cart at the Long Beach flea market. It was the end of the day and we were in the right place at the right time. We got an epic deal but the trouble was getting it home in the car we shared at the time (yes, we shared a car in LA). After several tries we were able to jam it in and – voila – it became my coffee table. The lovely coral specimen I got in Palm Springs, of all places, celebrating my 30th birthday with the greatest girlfriends ever.


Image above: On a solo trip to a local flea I found these three giant lithographs of Zouave soldiers. I had never come across anything like them. I was told they were purchased from a London prop house and they were in pretty good shape. I gave them a nice prominent place over my bed and these were the inspiration for the rest of the decor. The giant tribal pillow was a housewarming gift from Zoe.


Image above: I found this old glove mold at the Rose Bowl flea market. That along with a few mismatched dishes help me keep my jewels in order.


Image above: I have to admit I found this chair on the side of the road (American picker’s anyone?) and wanted to give it a new life. I never did get around to re-upholstering it but used a cute pillow from Crate & Barrel for the seat. The vintage cheese box nightstand was made by my boyfriend after I saw the “Before and After” on Design*Sponge! I actually found these fat lil legs at a flea market and when we attached them to the box and flipped it over, it totally reminded me of a robot. The matching table has casters but I think these legs are more fun.


Image above: I don’t have many “new” works of art in my place so the ones I do have
are extra special. The photograph on the top left was given to me by my friend, artist Megan Lindeman. This piece is titled “Over and Above and Upside Down”. I found the round railroad molds on a trip to the annual “Evil Monkey’s BBQ” in Kansas City, MO (held outside at The Dolphin Gallery). While my boyfriend was preparing and BBQ’ing his brains out for the event, I was hunting and gathering, naturally. I bought these without remembering I only had a carry-on for the plane and ended up leaving some things behind so that I could fit these. I added the mirrors back in LA and created this gallery wall that I wake up to every morning.


Image above: I like the character of this red tool box, especially “Donald’s” yellow signature. Sure its dented and bruised but I like that Donald and maybe others before him got some good use out of it. Plus it’s fantastic for storage and it makes the perfect stand for a planter I brought home from a trip I took to Baja.

Bérangère Bouffard

Oh wow. Love the beams!!! Love all the colour palette with the creamy white walls. Might not be a super bright place but what the pics show is muted goodness. Very nice space that was slowly put together with love. No instant gratification here, except for us the viewer ;) Makes me want to move stuff around and procrastinate with work… Not good.

Anna of Green Gable

Great rugs! And I love the arrow-inspired decor. I love that they found those chairs on the street. I used to live in Montreal, and we always found the best stuff for free!

xo green gable

Dee Wilcox

Such a lovely home. The coffee table cart — for under $300? That is a steal!! I also love the case for her letter-press blocks.

Brynn

I’m literally obsessed with every image. It’s all so minimal yet ornate.

Amberly

This is so awesome! You have some great things that you’ve arranged beautifully. I love all of the different places arrows pop up in your home especially, and that cool map!

Thanks for sharing your home!

Rachel

I love the vignette of the old photographs with the white shelves. That yellow lamp next to the tulips is eye catching!

Nicole Sutton

Thanks so much everyone for your awesome comments and feedback! It makes me feel so good that others enjoy my little vignettes and the treasures that I’ve been able to find! Thanks again to @Designsponge and Shannon for this feature – what a special treat it is :) Lots of love from sunny LA!
Nicole

Valentina

Perfect home with character and personality – plus hints of awesomeness through out! Love it…and best home I’ve seen

raya

This home feels like such a personal collection of loved things. Love that map in the dining room! Such a find.

Angela

Where did you get the amazing black mirror above the dresser?

Anthony

That vintage map of LA is so stunning — those colours !!! I would pay BIG BUCKS to get the same one for my home.

erin

Crossing my fingers that you respond! I have been searching for MONTHS for a vintage kilim rug in LA. Just haven’t found the right one yet. Do you remember the name of the store in the La Brea shopping district? : ) Thank you!!!

Erin

So I just couldn’t wait to figure it out.. I went for a shopping trip on La Brea today and asked a few store owners for advice. I’m nearly certain the rug shop is Rugs and Art, 139 S La Brea Ave. Looks awesome although it was closed today.. I did end up with a great pair of vintage Oliver People’s down the street. Thank you!

Eva

Looooove. Just really love your apartment. I also get everything from the street or at flea markets and thrift stores. This is right up my alley. If I had money I’d also buy contemporary design, but since this is not the case (yet), we have to make do with the best street and thrift has to offer :)

annemarie

beautiul! Just wanted to mention that the wooden case where the wooden type lives is actually called a furniture cabinet, designed for holding “furniture”: the rectangular wooden blocks of various sizes that are used in letterpress to hold the type (or whatever you’re printing) in place. how nice to see them together!

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